DETROIT -- The Ford Flex, criticized by some as too boxy, gets a rounder, more streamlined look for the 2013 model year.
The freshened 2013 Flex will make its first appearance this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The styling changes are most noticeable from the front. Ford's blue oval has been replaced by the word FLEX in large block letters above the grille. Ford's designers have rounded the Flex's square corners to give the vehicle a sleeker look. Ford also is updating the interior.
The Flex comes with a standard 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6 that delivers 285 hp, 20 hp more than the current model, and helps the Flex get an estimated 18 mpg city/25 highway, 1 mpg more than the current version. Ford's 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine also is available. It produces 355 hp and 350 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines come with a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission.
The seven-passenger crossover will come with the latest version of Ford's Sync hands-free telematics system with the next-generation MyFord Touch screen controls. Ford said last week it was upgrading the system by introducing cleaner, simpler, easier-to-read screens with faster touch and voice-response times.
The 2013 Flex comes with additional safety features including rear inflatable seat belts and radar-controlled adaptive cruise control.